The globe artichoke is one of the oldest known cultivated vegetables, and it happens to be brimming with nutritional benefits. The artichokes we typically eat are actually a flower of the whole plant—anyone love artichoke hearts? Flavor aside, here are some more health and beauty reasons to incorporate artichokes into your diet
- An excellent source of magnesium, and the trace mineral chromium- which has been shown to support healthy weight loss.
- They also provide Vitamins A and C, folic acid, biotin, the trace mineral manganese to fortify hair, skin and nails.
- They are also a good source of skin clearing vitamin A.
- Artichoke can support cholesterol reduction because of its strong choleretic activity (promotes bile secretion in the liver). Choleretics increase the elimination of cholesterol and decrease the production of cholesterol in the liver. The niacin present also aids in helping produce HDL—the “good” cholesterol.
- They aid in detoxification. Since the artichoke plant is a member of the thistle family, it has similar benefits to milk thistle–protecting against toxins and infection.
- The carbohydrate in artichokes is in the form of inulin, which helps stabilize blood sugar levels*. This also makes them an excellent source of dietary fiber.
Note: the artichokes must be fresh, since the inulin will eventually convert to other sugars as the artichoke ages.
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Stay tuned for tomorrow’s artichoke recipe.
Katharina Knoll, a Manhattan-based food and art enthusiast has prepared a series of anti-inflammatory recipes celebrating simple, rustic foods. Enraptured by the intersection of health and nutrition, Kat is the founder and director of Behind Foods. Follow Kat on her blog, Katharina’s Food Adventures, and keep in touch through her Facebook fan page and Twitter